Reds beat Whitehawk 3-1 to reach Sussex Senior Cup semi-finals
Reds are through to the semi-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup for the first time since 2008 after coming from behind to beat National League South Whitehawk at the Checkatrade Stadium.
The visitors took an early lead through Kevin Lisbie, but Reds led 3-1 at the break thanks to Conor Henderson’s equaliser and a brace from Bobson Bawling.
There were no further goals despite plenty of goalmouth action at both ends.
Head Coach Dermot Drummy fielded an entirely different starting XI to the side which had beaten Yeovil in League 2 eight days ago but the hosts fell behind after three minutes.
A right-wing corner from Brian Howard found its way to Lisbie a yard out and the former Charlton striker nodded home.
But Reds were level within two minutes when a shot from midfielder Henderson from 20 yards beat Tom Stewart and flew into the bottom right-hand corner.
That gave the hosts some confidence and they were ahead in the 13th minute. Jason Banton did well on the left to pull the ball back into the path of Bawling and his shot took a slight deflection but still had enough on it to beat Stewart.
Banton had an effort blocked before Crawley went 3-1 up on 27 minutes with Bawling producing a composed side-foot finish after Jordan Roberts’ pass had split open the Whitehawk defence.
Yusuf Mersin made a good save to keep out ex-Red Danny Mills’ close-range effort but Banton nearly got a fourth just before the break, only to be denied by Stewart’s acrobatic dive.
The chances continued to come in the second half and the only surprise was there were no more goals.
Bobson was close to completing his hat-trick on 62 minutes after being set up by Banton, but a defender blocked his shot. Aryan Tajbakhsh hit the side netting from 25 yards and Sanchez Watt wasn’t far away with two efforts from outside the box.
Mills thought he’d pulled one back after 74 minutes when he stooped to head home Dan Harding’s cross only to be denied by the assistant’s offside flag. Ramon Marimon headed over for the visitors from close range and Abdulla Ahmed squandered a great chance late on for Whitehawk when he fired over the top from close range.
But Reds were deserved winners in an entertaining game played in a good atmosphere, thanks in no small part to the noisy support of the Whitehawk ultras!
Reds: Mersin; Tajbakhsh, Garnett, Blackman, Arthur; Banton, Djalo, Henderson, Roberts (Boldewijn 65), Bawling; Watt. Unused subs: Morris, Connolly, Clifford.